Zandvlei Trust


Minutes of the quarterly committee meeting held at Zandvlei Environmental Education Centre at 14h00 on the 7th September 2011.

1. Opening and welcome

Cassandra Sheasby opened the meeting and welcomed all present. An attendance register was sent around and apologies received were read out.

Attendance Register

C Sheasby
T Fakier (student)
M Thompson 
B Craske
E Rayners


Cllr. D D’Alton
D Gibbs
C Haskins 
T Persent
M Gamaldien
P Joubert 
T Joubert
G Lawson
D Muller
R MacLean
V Wilson
J Ridley
K Findlay.

2. Pondweed cutting or Weed harvester
CS: Status update: press release was issued on 2nd September 2011 on refurbishment of Zandvlei machine. The cutter bed of machine was bent and while mechanic tried to straighten it the entire things started warping. It is going to be fitted with a completely new cutter bed of 6mm steel at cost of R64 000. The harvester is meant to be back by end of September after this delay. Operational plan for first circuit around vlei has been planned. This will be repeated to do “tidy up work” before starting on the planned person days required per zone to finish the circuit.
BC: Asked why the mechanics did not pick this up right at the beginning of the overhaul as it is the first item of disassembly on the quotation.
CS: Gareth Gibbons from Burgip gave the most recent update on this – CS cannot say why it was not found at the beginning. Gareth has confirmed that he will help with training for the first week to ensure the operator knows all the daily maintenance routines and checks.
CS; Princess Vlei harvester is in process of being transferred, to arrive today. Mr Benjamin (heathfield parks operator) and Mr Crombie (Zandvlei operator) will both be on the machine and work is planned to start from tomorrow once assembly of paddle wheels and all the mechanical checks have been completed. This is weather dependent as this harvester does not have a canopy for all weather conditions. The operational plan is set to start in Uitsig Peninsula and work south towards the mouth through the canals, not the main vlei as this is not the largest congestion of weed at the moment. MT: Planning on closing the mouth early on week of 12 Sept 2011 to increase the water level as we are experiencing little rain in more severe bursts than previous years. 
BC: Questioned the press release and the date of the harvester returning which changed. Going to put through a proposal to the Subcouncil with motivation for a third harvester. Currently the fleet of two has now been split across Directorates to two fleets of 1 machine each. This makes no financial or fleet management sense. There was a previous proposal in 2007/8 for a new machine to be purchased by the Subcouncil at a cost of R1.1m in 2003 costing exercise.
CS; there was a problem with that, under correction but the machine was the wrong spec and the funding was lost.
BC: Researched the tender processes and the costs of machines that are currently available, At Council priced tender would cost R2m for a new machine. Second hand ones with slightly different specs cost between R100 000 and R300 000. There is even one advertised 2nd hand for R10 000, one from UK R360 000 and one from China at R700 000. Boats UK is local (Cape Town) and would be able to Tender. It is not financially viable to maintain any vehicle if its upkeep is more expensive than 60% of its current value. Proposal will include motivation for both existing machines to be reunited under one management, either Sport and Rec or Biodiversity Management and a third machine be purchased for Princess and Little Princess vlei of a more suitable design for their needs (hyacinth, parrots feather and to be amphibious etc). Specifications of the current changes to the machine including technical drawings should have been provided prior to these changes being implemented on the machine as this has now reduced the capability of using parts from one machine on the other. Many documents to motivate this relating to the Environmental Goods and Services provided by Green Open Spaces that the City has. Higher rates are charged in the Lakeside and Marina da Gama area due to Zandvlei, amounting to over R80m income to the City annually.
CS: would have to get Procurement Supply Chain Management Director onboard for any tenders and would have to be approved if wanting to buy internationally, a long process.
ER: Where would the budget come from? If the Heathfield machine was also moved to Biodiversity Management, it would have to move with the budget leaving Parks with no budget to buy another machine or operator for Princess Vlei area.
BC: Has plenty proof that one machine for Zandvlei alone will not be successful as we require at least 2 cuttings of entire vlei per season except for winter when only one cutting is necessary and the machine needs maintenance. There are ways that the expenditure could be cut down. The machine should not be moved, it causes damage and is a very expensive exercise. The Princess Vlei machine has a guard constantly due to vandalism etc. This needs to be addressed. An amphibious machine could be parked in a lock up facility housed within the Parks Depot. Has been trying to reach Julia Wood to discuss this with her but has not been able to find her.
MT; Would also need to bring Mechanical (who are now Fleet) on board for technical advice on the machines. Fleet should have weighed up the financial situation of cost to repair vs cost to replace.
CS: Concerned about the political focus over the next 5 years– only social upliftment and green economic opportunities will get attention, this could affect operating budgets further. MT: Due to the new regulations it is also becoming increasingly difficult to beautify areas or do bank reshaping, rehabilitation of waterways etc.
BC; If a new machine was purchased, he and a few other Marina residents with sufficient fleet management knowledge would assist in the management of the machines and the operations. Approximately 800 of the Marina properties face directly onto the vlei.
CS; perhaps charging entrance for recreational activities specific to the waterbody should be investigated? Many people that are not residents use the vlei for recreation and only the residents are contributing towards the upkeep in the way of them paying higher rates, should be spread more evenly.
BC: this has already been calculated at R6.40 per person a few years ago which could be used for the upkeep.
Would be difficult to implement due to open access.
BC: the survey that is in pilot phase needs to be relooked at, the questions do not relate to the needs of the vlei, will contact the surveyor.

3. Management Plan Process Phase 2
CH presented the presentation concerning the management of the mouth. Consensus from the ZAC to present the management plan to Council.
KF: How is the mouth affecting movement of fish?
CS: mouth is open for the max period for fish movement but it must align with weather.
MT: fish migration is mainly from August to November.DM: what impact will the rising sea level have concerning the management plan?
CH: the City is doing a lot of work with climate change modelling. It is predicted that the rainfall will increase by 15% over the next 20 years, short, intense rainfall and long, dry periods. Climate change is an uncertain science based mostly on modelling.

4. Mouth Management
MT: mouth and rubble weir currently open.
KF: how moveable is the rubble weir?
MT: it cannot be moved easily, requires labour to move rocks, there is some movement and natural shifting due to currents and so on, but the general maintenance of the weir is low.

5. Water Levels
MT: E.coli readings were high at the yacht club but it is to be expected because of the winter rains.
CS: Royal Road was also high. There was a concern that the pump station could be overflowing again, but it was inspected in June and was not overflowing.

6. Water Quality
CS: Kingfisher machine went in for an upgrade and service. An operator has been employed and the machine will be off the water for a while.
BC: will there be two machines?
CS: the other machine is stationed at Princess Vlei and will not be coming back to Zandvlei. The two machines are now under different directorates of the City and different departments. This makes it very difficult as well as costly to move the machine. There are also added risks like new invasive species using the machine as a vector to Zandvlei.
BC: have asked sub-council to attend a meeting.
KF: short term solution: borrow machine from Princess Vlei?
CS: budget needs to be cleared so cannot do anything (financial year end). Isgaak will be trained to operate the reed cutter during next week. The pondweed will be cut by the reed cutter and Isgaak will work the weekend to try catch up.
GL: will send details of an organic farmer to collect pondweed at his own expense.

7. Litter traps & litter cleanups
CS: A volunteer team helped pick up litter at the mouth. Edwin from Sport and Recreational Dept sent a team of 20 men, result 200 black bags of litter from Park Island. An estimated cost of to keep Zandvlei litter free would cost R850 000.00 per year.
KF: Litter better than previous year.
DM: litter teams should come every year and each person should do there bit.
KF: Users of the vlei should help e.g. canoeists. He will try to get a party together to do cleanups

8. Park Island
CS: no correspondence from Vanessa.
DM: a litter bin on the Eastern shore is gone, could it be replaced?
CS: Two plastic bins need to replace at the Thesens bridge. We will not be using swing bins on the Eastern shore any more as these are being stolen for scrap metal. Even though there have been further requests for doggy doo bins, we will not be erecting any more unless they will be managed by the community that wants them.

9. Mallards
CS: Burnt all the brush piles. Will put signage up that says garden refuse must not be dropped at Park Island. Water has been shut down because the irrigation is being stolen. Parks has agreed to help us to disconnect the old irrigation systems from the mains so that there will at least be water for the toilets on the island.

10. Fish
CS: tube worms: a lot of debate about whether they are alien or cosmopolitan. They are doing an environmental service by filtering the water which helps to keep the water quality good.
KF: no issues with tube worms, the only problem area would be under the Park Island bridge.
CS: will have to look at a method of identifying and removing old colonies in phases so that they can recolonize but the majority of the old tubeworm mass will be removed.

11. Invasive Waterweeds
CS: no count has been done, waiting for the national strategy to be able to eradicate the birds.

12. Mowing
CS: next fish trek in two weeks. Want to have an MOU with Oceans and Coasts and the City to have Zandvlei to do the treks. Oceans and Coasts need to supply nets and permits.
KF: salinity and oxygen in the water monitoring done at the same time of the trek and there should be tagging of fish.
CH: there used to be a fish tagger at Scientific Services, Robert Siebritz the person to contact to ask if it can be transferred to Zandvlei.
Action: CS.

13. Signage
JF: hyacinth low at Rutter Road. Rains bring down the hyacinth from the upper areas and affect the lower areas.
CS: Louise should be informed about this problem because it might be coming down from a private property. It needs to be solved from upstream.

14. Other
a. Boardsail InnCS: Has been a proposal to build on this area again by the Scouts. Biodiversity management would not support it. Would trigger an EIA. Howard Gold and Suretha Dorse are following up. HG
b. Law enforcement
CS: Law enforcement will continue, Zandvlei will have dedicated team of rangers who will patrol the problem areas and ensure visible policing.
The environmental law enforcement emergency number after hours: 083 499 1717.
c. Kite Festival 
CS: Edwin Genade will be doing the mowing for the festival. ECO will be employed before the festival. NCC is looking at the taps and trying to ensure drainage of grey water to a drain. CS to have site meeting with NCC CS.

15.Closure and date of next meeting
The next meeting scheduled for Thursday 1st December 2011 at 14:00 at the Zandvlei Board Room. Muizenberg Depot off Coniston Avenue.


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